Making Life a Little Easier

I (Steph) wanted to share a couple of things that, when I use them, make my life less hectic!  I fell off the band-wagon awhile ago, but am recommitting myself once again and thought I would bring you along. 🙂

The first one is probably not new to many of you, it’s the concept of “once a month cooking” or oamc.  Once a month cooking is basically cooking all of your meals for a month in one day.  I love doing this!  Whether I just make a double batch of something one night, eat one for dinner and freeze the other OR I do a big cooking session in one day and have a months worth of meals in my freezer, it feels great to know that dinner is pretty much done.  It’s so nice not to have to think too hard about our dinner, let alone set aside the time to make it.

I recently found OnceAMonthMom.  It’s a GREAT site that has a new menu, recipes, shopping list, instructions, labels AND a podcast each month (for FREE).  She has shopping lists for doubling the recipes, trippling, and even quadrupling them!  She gathers the recipes from all of the web from people that have tried them and like them (she discusses the origins of the recipes in the Podcast).  The site is very organized and easy to find things!  You can see October’s Once a Month information HERE.

Most of the time, when I do OAMC, I just take my family’s favorite recipes and double them and then do all of the prep work up to the final cooking and instead freeze them.  I do the final cooking the day that we are going to eat the meal.  Everything just tastes better to me that way.  So, for example, this recipe I make the filling like the instructions say, assemble the enchiladas and then put them in a ziploc bag.  Next, I put all of the ingredients for the sauce in a different ziploc and then the extra cheese in a 3rd and final ziploc.  You can then either staple the bags together or put all of the bags in a larger bag to keep them together.  Now, I know a lot of people say that you shouldn’t freeze dairy products.  I have found that if cream cheese is mixed with other things, it freezes and cooks up fine.  I have also found that as long as you will be cooking other dairy products, it works perfectly well.  I wouldn’t cook anything with sour cream or cream cheese and then just reheat in the microwave, mostly because the texture is pretty gross (can you tell I have tried…haha?).  I also go a step further and plan one side dish to go with each of my freezer meals and purchase those items at the same time I do my big shopping, so I don’t have to do as much planning later.  For these enchiladas, I would probably just do a Spanish or Mexican rice dish (easy) for my one side (I will also add a fruit and veggie with whatever I have on hand).

Another thing that I love to use in meal preparation is my crockpot or slow cooker!  My favorite thing in the world is to combine the freezer meals with the crockpot!  take the “Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff” recipe that my family LOVES, I usually just put all of the ingredients on one ziploc bag, freeze it,  and then dump it all in my crockpot the day we are going to eat it.  Cooking just cannot get any easier than that!!  I recently discovered SlowCooker365 and have tried a few of her recipes.  I have to say that the Beef Bourguignon really was amazing and everyone in my family liked it…a lot!!  She has a very interesting story behind her site as well, so take a few minutes to look around!

The last thing that makes me feel on top of my life is something that I learned about in the forums at DST (isn’t their new site decor cute!?).  Motivated Moms really helped me feel like I was getting things done in my house each day without being overwhelmed.  I have a tendency to work really hard, but then only see what still needs to get done, which can be discouraging.  For some reason having a list that I can check off each day and knowing that everything WILL get cleaned if I just follow the schedule, makes all of the difference in the world to me.  Now, I found this site a couple of years ago, but didn’t buy the new calendar for 2009…until a few weeks ago.  I have to say that I am so happy to have this back in my life!  I forgot what a difference it made!  You can see a sample here.  When I was trying to decide if this would work for me, I printed the sample and worked through it for a week…it actually only took me a day or two to decide it was what I needed.  You can buy the rest of 2009 for $2 at the bottom of this page or 2010 at the top.

So there you have it…  A couple of simple things that help ease my stress.  What about you?  Do you have some resources of your own you can share?

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Making an Alpha out of a Font

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Sometimes you are looking for the perfect alpha and you can’t find it. And sometimes you have a font that you just love and want to do MORE with it. Well, it’s easy! We’ll just turn a favorite font into an alpha!

I do want to note that this tutorial is for personal use…the fonts I am going to use are not necessarily for commercial use. I just want to show you how you, as a scrapper (non-designer), can make something for you to use on your personal pages. Using non-commercial use fonts to sell or even give away is against copyright laws and most TOU.

Let’s look at the alpha I made for this page:

nana_web450Credits: Stitching by Syrin, staples and brads by Shabby Princess, everything else was made by me

To make this alpha I started with a blank document and typed out my letters and numbers, adding a space between each character (the font here is Quicksand).

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Then, holding down my command key (Control key on a PC) I clicked on the thumbnail in the layers palette. This selected all of the active pixels on that layer.

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Then, on a new layer, I went to Select > Modify > Expand and then entered my value. In this case, I chose 25 pixels. This took the selection I had made (the letters) and made it larger.

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Once the outline was expanded, I went to Edit > Fill Selection and then chose my color (in this case, a light gray, since this was just going to be in template form).

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Then I saved this document in a layered format so that I can use it again. Then I continued.

I knew I wanted “sticker letters” so I changed the gray layer to white and deleted my background. For the letters, I wanted to use these colors:

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Using my magic wand tool, I clicked on every fourth character to select the black letter part and once they were all selected, I again went to Edit > Fill Selection and then chose my foreground color which was set to green.

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I continued on until all the characters were filled with different colors, then I merged the two layers and DONE! I had an alpha to use whenever I needed it. It is so easy! Here are a few other fonts I have turned into alphas:

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So why not take YOUR favorite font and turn it into an alpha for you to use on your page?

janet_sig16

THE FRIDAY FLYER {October 2}

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Hold on to your seats, because there are some great things flyin’ into the digi world

We are starting a new feature here at THE DAILY DIGI! Each Friday afternoon we are going to post some of the cool things coming up for the weekend in the digi world. Current and past sponsors have the opportunity to share news of new kits, CT calls, sales, and MORE! And we will bring that news straight to you at 4pm EST/EDT, just in time for your weekend shopping and scrapping! Check out a few things going on this weekend!

{all images are linked}

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Big weekend at The Lilypad! We are introducing a new Guest Designer – Nathy of Cinnamon Designs, a new BYOC release with over 45 new products, as well as huge storewide (30% off) and retirement (50% off) sales.

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Looking for a scrumptious fall-inspired kit that can be used all year round? Check out Misty’s Shabby Orchard available here at Sweet Shoppe Designs Saturday Oct. 3.

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Registration is now open for a very special workshop that is going on at the Digichick this October. Join us as we lead you through a series of eight classes that are sure to change the way you look at your pages. Registration ends October 12th. Stop by the Digichick for more details: Every Life Has a Story: The Workshop

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Songbird Avenue is having a CT call! Here is your chance to be part of an AMAZING site and do something AMAZING for charity! See their blog for more details.

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A Girl Can Never Have Enough Shoes

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Last winter, I was scouring the internet for some fun hybrid projects I could make, when I came aross this CUTE paper witches shoe on the Skip To My Lou blog. My head started spinning with all of the possibilities this shoe template would hold. I really wanted a digital version though, so I could use any of my digi papers I wanted. A few weeks ago I emailed Cindy at Skip To My Lou and asked her if I could make her printable template into a digital template and share with our readers. She was so excited and shared that she had been wanting to learn more about digital scrapbooking for a while 🙂 so, she and I will be teaming up in the near future as I teach her (and her readers) about digi scrapping!

Now, lets get busy making some shoes! I converted the printable shoe template into a digital template and made myself a couple of very cute shoes:

img_5286editedHere’s how I did it:

1) Digital part – If you are new to the blog, you might not yet know how to use a digital template (we use them a lot around here 😉 ). You can learn how to use them HERE. The digital supplies I used for my shoes were: Flergs glitter styles for the outside of the shoes (I just added the layer style to the template shape itself, no need to add paper at all), the pink paper inside of the Cinderella shoe is from Zoe Pern, and the gingham paper inside the Dorothy shoe is from Stephanie2.

Once I had the digital paper “cut” to the shape of the template, I adjusted the lightness on the Cut&Fold lines layer, so it wasn’t as visible after printing ( you will still need to be able to see them so you know where to crease your paper). Here’s how:

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2) Print – When I do hybrid projects and print at home, I almost always use HP Presentation Paper in a matte finish in 32lb weight (purchased at the office supply store). I have even been able to ModPodge this stuff and it has not run. The colors are always rich and it is thicker than regular paper. For this project a little bit heavier paper would have worked better to hold the treats inside.

3) Cut out the shoe by following the solid lines. Then, you will need to crease/fold by following the dotted lines. For the outside of the shoe, all folds will be done with white side facing white side, except on the tongue of the shoe where you will fold pattern to pattern. Here is what it will look like when you are done:

labels-on-paper-copy4) Assemble outside of shoe: You will want to overlap and glue the heels of the shoe first (so the heel creates a box shape). It will look like this:

img_5253editedNext, apply some adhesive to the top of one of the toe covers and then layer the other toe cover on the other side on top. It will look like this:

img_5254editedNow, you will need to apply adhesive to the flaps on the sides of the tongue and glue those to the inside of the shoe. Here is what they look like BEFORE they are glued:

img_5255edited5) Assemble inside of shoe: You will need to fold the inside of the shoe with the patterned paper facing each other. It will look similar to this:

img_5260editedApply some adhesive to the reverse side of the inside of the shoe and then line it up starting at the toe first. Once the inside is in place, you can start to embellish. For this shoe, I wanted it to look like a glass slipper, so I used some spray adhesive (purchased at the home improvement store) on the outside and then dusted it with silver glitter. Make sure to do this over a trash can to avoid glitterfying your whole house! 🙂

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Here is the completed shoe with some pumpkins to remind the princess to be home by midnight:

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I also made a Dorothy inspired shoe in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz:

img_5277editedWouldn’t these make fun invitations or party favors? They are super quick to work up and so much fun! We would love to see what you do too, so link us up!

You can download the free digital tempaltes here:

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Have a GREAT weekend!

steph_sig

P.S. Make sure you enter this contest! If you don’t have a blog, you can always start one for free with Blogger. We don’t care how often you update it….great prizes each and every month!

THE DIGI FILES 8 — NOW AVAILABLE

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A new month and a new DIGI FILES. Yea! I am so excited about this months lineup of fabulous designers. The kits in here are so, so amazing. I can’t wait to get scrapping! If you are new to THE DAILY DIGI and aren’t sure what THE DIGI FILES are, this is for you:

THE DIGI FILES are a “grab bag” of sorts. Each of the designers listed have contributed something to THE DIGI FILES…it might be a mini kit, an element set, a template, and more. THE DIGI FILES are a way for you affordably try out new-to-you designers as well as the chance to get some great stuff from your “old” favorites. If you can’t resist, buy it now. If you would rather see before you buy, check back in at THE DAILY DIGI all month long to see what these amazing ladies contributed. All month long we spotlight the individual designers to see what they made and to see some of their other amazing designs. As each part of THE DIGI FILES is revealed, it will be added to THIS PAGE.
THE DIGI FILES are our way to be able to run this site each and every day without the distraction of banner ads and annoying blinkies. Help support us by purchasing today!

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Check out our AMAZING designers this month:

Lauren Reid
Ziggle Scraps
Designs by Dani (Dani Mogstad)
Yin
Designs by Lili
Kay Miller
The Digi Chick

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